Three Japanese people who were evacuated from Wuhan have tested positive for coronavirus – while India and the Philippines become the latest counties to confirm cases.
Two of the Japanese nationals did not show symptoms when they boarded the plane on Wednesday - fuelling fears hosts of the virus may be spreading it unwittingly.
They were among 206 passengers flown to Tokyo from the epicentre of the outbreak, which has so far killed 170 and infected nearly 8,300 worldwide.
Japan’s three new cases take the Asian nation’s tally to 11, while India and the Philippines became the latest nations to confirm cases.
The Indian patient was a medical student from the country’s Kerala region, who had been studying at Wuhan University.
A 38-year-old Filipino woman was diagnosed when she came down with a mild cough four days after returning from Wuhan.
An ambulance driven by a facemask-wearing medic leaves the airport after picking up suspected coronavirus patients
A Boeing 767 plane carrying 210 more Japanese people has landed in Tokyo today after rescuing them from Wuhan. It is the second evacuation plane to be sent for Japanese nationals
Ambulances arrive at Haneda airport in Tokyo on January 30 after the arrival of the second charter flight from Wuhan
India announced a student had tested positive for coronavirus (left). A Japanese medic wearing a face mask, gloves and eye protection at the Tokyo airport where evacuees landed this morning
A bus carrying Japanese nationals repatriated from Wuhan leaves Haneda airport in Tokyo today
The coronavirus epidemic currently sweeping the world has so far killed 170 and infected nearly 8,300 in 21 different countries and territories
Philippines Health Secretary Francisco Duque said the coronavirus patient, who travelled home from Wuhan via Hong Kong on January 21, currently has no symptoms.
The infected Indian student is said to be in stable condition and is being monitored closely, India’s health ministry said in a statement.
More than 800 people have travelled from Hubei province in China, which surrounds Wuhan, and are under observation in the state of Kerala.
Among Japan’s 11 cases is a tour bus driver who was infected after coming into contact with Chinese visitors.
A further 210 Japanese were flown back home on Thursday on a second government-chartered flight that landed in Tokyo this morning.
Thirteen passengers displayed felt unwell and had symptoms including fevers and coughs, according to Japan’s health ministry.
They will be screened and placed in quarantine when they return to Japan. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he will ‘put top priority on protecting the lives and health of the people, and we will decide on what needs to be done without hesitation.’
World Health Organization figures show just 2,014 patients had been struck down with the SARS-like infection by Sunday, January 26. This has now risen dramatically to more than 7,800 with cases in the US, Australia and Canada
As well as a dramatic increase in cases of the never-before-seen virus, figures also show the number of deaths have spiralled. Since yesterday, deaths rose by 38, marking the biggest 24-hour jump since the outbreak began last month
Mr Abe has put together a task force to deal with the virus, which will track down and test people who had been in Wuhan.
The government is planning to send a third flight to pick up the remaining 200 or so Japanese citizens who are still trapped in Wuhan, which has been on lockdown since last week.
Among those who were evacuated from Wuhan on the first rescue plane on Wednesday, all but two passengers agreed to be tested.
Mr Abe said it was regrettable they had declined but said there were limits to what the government could do legally without breaching civil rights.
Meanwhile Britons stranded in Wuhan will be flown back to the UK on a flight leaving at 5am local time tomorrow, Friday, the Government has confirmed.
The UK is expected to charter a plane from a commercial Asian airline and staff it with members of the RAF and a team of three Army medics who will ferry them home to RAF Brize Norton before putting them onto buses which will take them to an NHS facility in North West England, where they’ll be kept for two weeks.
Specifics have appeared amid backlash against the Government’s ‘shambolic’ handling of the crisis which left would-be passengers with just two hours to get to the airport at 9pm local time today.
Medical workers are pictured pulling someone suspected to have the coronavirus out of an apartment building in Wuhan today, January 30
People disembark a cargo plane sent to Wuhan by the US to pull its citizens out of the coronavirus-hit city
Hazmat-wearing workers are seen on a runway in Tokyo for the first flight to carry Japanese nationals out of the crisis-hit Wuhan
One man in the country visiting his girlfriend said he has abandoned his hopes of getting home because he can’t get to the airport in time – he added most people he spoke to were giving up for the same reason.
The US and Japan have already successfully flown hundreds of their own citizens home and numerous other countries, including France, Turkey, Australia, India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Thailand are finalising plans.
The Wuhan exodus comes as 170 people have now died in China after contracting the coronavirus and the number of global cases has soared to more than 8,200.
The UK Government today scrambled to put a plan together after Beijing last night denied it permission to land a plane at Wuhan Tianhe Airport. No-one in Britain has been diagnosed yet – 161 people have tested negative.
All British passengers will face medical screening before being cleared to fly back and anyone showing signs of infection will be turned away at the airport and left behind, a Government minister confirmed.
And people who are deemed healthy enough to make it on board will only be allowed 15kg of luggage and must leave any Chinese or part-Chinese relatives behind because Beijing officials are refusing to let them go.
A Turkish Air Forces cargo plane is pictured on a runway in Ankara today, January 30 – it will be flown to Wuhan to fly Turkish citizens home
A plane is pictured on a runway in Beja, Portugal, as it is prepared for a flight to Wuhan at the weekend to evacuate European citizens from various countries
Brits wanting to escape from Wuhan will have to make their way across a city which has been largely abandoned – shops, schools and businesses are closed, there is no public transport, roads are blocked and flights out of the city have been cancelled (Picture taken Wednesday January 29)
Anthony May-Smith told Sky News he has been waiting for days to hear confirmation of the UK evacuation flight but still doesn’t know when he is expected to be at the airport
Ben Pinkerton, pictured, is a British teacher from Northern Ireland and living Wuhan. He said it is ‘nerve-wracking’ to be in the city at the moment and the evacuation arrangements seem like a ‘shambles’
Jeff Siddle, his wife Sindy and their nine-year-old daughter Jasmine will be torn apart because officials in Beijing won’t allow his Chinese wife on the British evacuation flight, but Mr Siddle and his daughter will travel
WUHAN CORONAVIRUS: WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR
What is this virus?
The virus has been identified as a new type of coronavirus. Coronaviruses are a large family of pathogens, most of which cause mild lung infections such as the common cold.
But coronaviruses can also be deadly. SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, is caused by a coronavirus and killed hundreds of people in China and Hong Kong in the early 2000s.
Can the Wuhan coronavirus kill?
Yes – 213 people have so far died after testing positive for the virus.
What are the symptoms?
Some people who catch the Wuhan coronavirus may not have any symptoms at all, or only very mild ones like a sore throat or a headache.
Others may suffer from a fever, cough or trouble breathing.
And a small proportion of patients will go on to develop severe infection which can damage the lungs or cause pneumonia, a life-threatening condition which causes swelling and fluid build-up in the lungs.
How is it detected?
The virus’s genetic sequencing was released by scientists in China and countries around the world have used this to create lab tests, which must be carried out to confirm an infection.
Delays to these tests, to test results and to people getting to hospitals in China, mean the number of confirmed cases is expected to be just a fraction of the true scale of the outbreak.
How did it start and spread?
The first cases identified were among people connected to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan.
Cases have since been identified around China and are known to have spread from person to person.
What are countries doing to prevent the spread?
Countries in Asia have stepped up airport surveillance. They include Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines.
Australia and the US are also screening patients for a high temperature, and the UK announced it will screen passengers returning from Wuhan.
Is it similar to anything we’ve ever seen before?
Experts have compared it to the 2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). The epidemic started in southern China and killed more than 700 people in mainland China, Hong Kong and elsewhere.
SCROLL DOWN TO SEE MAILONLINE’S FULL Q&A ON THE CORONAVIRUS
Labour MP and former Foreign Office minister, Chris Bryant, today told MailOnline the Government’s approach seemed ‘negligent’ and said people are ‘wondering why other countries can manage to sort this out, but we can’t.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in a statement this afternoon: ‘We are pleased to have confirmation from the Chinese authorities that the evacuation flight from Wuhan airport to the UK can depart at 0500 local time on Friday 31 January.
‘The safety and security of British nationals is our top priority. Our Embassy in Beijing and consular teams remain in close contact with British nationals in the region to ensure they have the latest information they need.’
The announcement came at approximately 1pm London time today, which was 9pm in Wuhan.
Passengers were reportedly told they would have two hours to get to the airport in Wuhan, a city bigger than London and without public transport or taxis.
UK officials refused to help people get there, people in Wuhan said, and the city is all but deserted after public transport was shut down and roadblocks put in place.
One said it was ‘impossible’ to get there and he had given up on trying to get onto the plane and would stay in China instead.
Anthony May-Smith, who had had his bags packed for days, this morning told Sky News he did not hear until 9pm that he had to be at the meeting point at 11pm.
‘There’s a complete transport ban in the city,’ he said. ‘I’ve said this to them every time I’ve spoken to them and asked them what they can do to help and, every time, always “make your own way there”.
‘I know that there’s other people that are struggling to get there themselves. So far I’ve only head that one person can actually get to the airport and the rest are struggling.’
Mr May-Smith, who is in Wuhan visiting his girlfriend, said he was told he’d get ‘plenty of notice’ to make his way to the airport.
He added: ‘Everybody’s come up with the same outcome – nobody can physically get there. It’s literally impossible to get there.’
Government sources have said they expect around 200 British people to be on the flight, but it’s not clear how many have abandoned their plans because they didn’t have enough time to get to the rendezvous.
Labour MP Chris Bryant, a former Foreign Office minister, earlier accused the government of having a ‘negligent’ approach.
‘The government does need to get its act together,’ he told MailOnline. ‘There are families worrying about people who are still stuck in China and wondering why other countries can manage to sort this out, but we can’t.’
The plane, believed to be a chartered aircraft supplied by an Asian airline, will be crewed by RAF personnel and have a team of three Army medical officers on board. It will fly back to England and is due to land at RAF Brize Norton at 8.45am UK time tomorrow morning.
Passengers are then likely to go through another set of medical checks before being put onto coaches to shuttle them to the North West of England to a ‘secluded NHS facility’, which will not be a hospital
They will spend the next two weeks at the NHS facility being cared for and regularly screened for signs of coronavirus infection, after which they will be allowed to go home
They won’t be allowed out in public for two weeks – this is likely because scientists have worked out the virus has an incubation period of around that long.
An incubation period is the time between someone becoming infected and starting to show symptoms. During this time someone could be contagious without knowing they’re sick, making them extra dangerous.
In a desperate plea for help, Tom Williams (pictured with his wife, Lauren, and son, James) published an open letter on Twitter to say: ‘I just want to try and share our story so I can try and get my wife, son and unborn child safely out of the city’. It is not clear whether the family will be on the flight
English mother Nathalie Francis said she will not leave Wuhan because the UK Government said it couldn’t take her three-year-old son, who is a Chinese citizen. She said: ‘I don’t know anyone who has contracted the virus but we have been inside for days, the atmosphere is very scary and everything is becoming overwhelming and stressful’
Details emerging about the flight have been hazy and largely unconfirmed by the Government.
Ben Pinkerton, a teacher from Dungannon, Northern Ireland, is stuck in Wuhan and earlier told MailOnline he was cooped up in his flat in the city waiting to arrange a way home on the evacuation flight.
He said that the Government had given him ‘very little practical advice’ and he wasn’t sure when he was supposed to be heading to the airport – or how. MailOnline has not been able to contact him since the Foreign Office confirmed a time.
‘We were told that an evacuation was happening Thursday morning, but we haven’t been given a time or anything,’ he said. ‘It’s quite nerve wracking, just sitting here waiting.
‘A vague time doesn’t help us. We have travel arrangements planned with the company we work with, but the driver needs rest and we can’t assure him of what time we get picked up. The whole arrangement seems like a shambles.’
Mr Pinkerton added that morale among British people in the city seemed high but that he figured their families at home would be worried.
He said: ‘I implore those at the top to think not only of us but also our families still at home. In the majority of cases I would wager they are more worried than we are and want nothing more than their relatives to return to safety.’
Adam Bridgeman, a British man who is trapped in Wuhan with his Chinese wife and their one-month-old son, said he did not know if authorities would let him bring their son to the UK.
He told BBC Radio 4: ‘We’ve been in contact with the Foreign Office and they have confirmed I would be able to board a flight out of Wuhan but they’ve told me categorically that my wife can’t go.’
He said his son might also be considered a Chinese citizen but he hadn’t been told for certain either way.
‘It’s a very tough decision because if I could take my son I would consider going to take him to safety,’ he added. ‘But if I can’t take my son or wife then I’ll definitely stay here.
‘The last time I contacted [the Foreign Office] they said we just don’t know, you sort of have to try your luck and take him and see if he can get on – see if they let him on.’
British PE teacher Kharn Lambert, who decided he wouldn’t come back on the flight, told Sky News yesterday: ‘This morning I was on the phone to the embassy and they’ve basically told us via a script they were given by the Foreign Office that the flight will be leaving tomorrow, they’re not sure what time.’
Mr Lambert said he decided to stay in Wuhan so he didn’t ‘put everybody’s health at risk’ but said his grandmother would have to fly home because she was frail.
British teacher Jeff Siddle was among those due to be evacuated from Wuhan with his nine-year-old daughter Jasmine.
But Chinese officials reportedly barred his wife Sindy, a Chinese citizen, from boarding the rescue flight.
Mr Siddle’s family flew to Hubei province to spend time with his partner’s relatives and celebrate the Chinese New Year before warnings were in place about the deadly coronavirus epidemic.
Mr Siddle said yesterday: ‘My wife’s a Chinese citizen, although she’s got a permanent residency visa for the UK as a spouse.
‘But what the Foreign Office is saying is they are going to be doing an airlift, possibly tomorrow, but it’s only [for] British citizens.
‘Chinese authorities are not allowing any Chinese residents to leave.
‘I was put in the position to make a decision to either leave my wife here in China, or the three of us stay here [in Wuhan].
‘We have to basically have a nine-year-old child separated from their mother. Who knows how long that is going to be for?’
Mr Siddle told the Guardian there were no health warnings in place when they flew out on January 15. ‘My head is spinning,’ he said. ‘It’s just horrendous.
‘This ordeal just turned into our worst nightmare. How can they put a family in this position? Having to leave Sindy in China would be the worst thing that anyone could be put through. How am I going to tell Jasmine that her mum has to stay behind?’
Mr Siddle said he and his daughter would have to make their own way to Wuhan Tianhe International Airport, from where the US and Japan have flown residents out of the city from. But he added that he is a three-hour drive away from the airport and that all the roads are on lockdown.
Another expat stranded in the region, Malcolm Lanyon, said he has chosen to stay in the region because he doesn’t want to leave his Chinese wife behind.
Everything we know we know about the deadly coronavirus in China: But how worried should we be?
Someone who is infected with the Wuhan coronavirus can spread it with just a simple cough or a sneeze, scientists say.
At least 170 people with the virus are now confirmed to have died and more than 8,200 have been infected in at least 18 countries and regions. But experts predict the true number of people with the disease could be 100,000, or even as high as 350,000 in Wuhan alone, as they warn it may kill as many as two in 100 cases. Here’s what we know so far:
What is the Wuhan coronavirus?
Coronavirus cases TRIPLED in three days
Cases of the deadly coronavirus sweeping the world have tripled within three days, MailOnline can reveal after China warned the killer outbreak will peak in the next 10 days.
World Health Organization figures show just 2,014 patients had been struck down with the SARS-like infection by Sunday, January 26. This has now risen dramatically to 6,168, with cases in the US, Australia and Canada.
Figures also show there were just 445 cases by Wednesday last week – meaning the outbreak that is continuing to escalate has increased in size by almost 14-fold in the space of seven days.
It means the outbreak in mainland China is now bigger than the 2003 SARS epidemic, when 5,327 cases of the killer virus were confirmed and 8,00 people were infected.
It comes after a renowned scientist at China’s National Health Commission warned the spread of the infection is only going to get worse. Dr Zhong Nanshan admitted he fears the crisis will peak ‘in the next 10 days’.
A coronavirus is a type of virus which can cause illness in animals and people. Viruses break into cells inside their host and use them to reproduce itself and disrupt the body’s normal functions. Coronaviruses are named after the Latin word ‘corona’, which means crown, because they are encased by a spiked shell which resembles a royal crown.
The coronavirus from Wuhan is one which has never been seen before this outbreak. It is currently named 2019-nCoV, and does not have a more detailed name because so little is known about it.
Dr Helena Maier, from the Pirbright Institute, said: ‘Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that infect a wide range of different species including humans, cattle, pigs, chickens, dogs, cats and wild animals.
‘Until this new coronavirus was identified, there were only six different coronaviruses known to infect humans. Four of these cause a mild common cold-type illness, but since 2002 there has been the emergence of two new coronaviruses that can infect humans and result in more severe disease (Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronaviruses).
‘Coronaviruses are known to be able to occasionally jump from one species to another and that is what happened in the case of SARS, MERS and the new coronavirus. The animal origin of the new coronavirus is not yet known.’
The first human cases were publicly reported from the Chinese city of Wuhan, where approximately 11million people live, after medics first started seeing infections on December 31.
By January 8, 59 suspected cases had been reported and seven people were in critical condition. Tests were developed for the new virus and recorded cases started to surge.
The first person died that week and, by January 16, two were dead and 41 cases were confirmed. The next day, scientists predicted that 1,700 people had become infected, possibly up to 4,500.
Just a week after that, there had been more than 800 confirmed cases and those same scientists estimated that some 4,000 – possibly 9,700 – were infected in Wuhan alone. By that point, 26 people had died.
By January 27, more than 2,800 people were confirmed to have been infected, 81 had died, and estimates of the total number of cases ranged from 100,000 to 350,000 in Wuhan alone.
By January 29, the number of deaths had risen to 133 and cases were in excess of 7,000.
Where does the virus come from?
Nobody knows for sure. Coronaviruses in general tend to originate in animals – the similar SARS and MERS viruses are believed to have originated in civet cats and camels, respectively.
The first cases of the virus in Wuhan came from people visiting or working in a live animal market in the city, which has since been closed down for investigation.
Although the market is officially a seafood market, other dead and living animals were being sold there, including wolf cubs, salamanders, snakes, peacocks, porcupines and camel meat.
Bats are a prime suspect – researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences said in a recent statement: ‘The Wuhan coronavirus’ natural host could be bats… but between bats and humans there may be an unknown intermediate.’
And another scientific journal article has suggested the virus first infected snakes, which may then have transmitted it to people at the market in Wuhan.
Peking University researchers analysed the genes of the coronavirus and said they most closely matched viruses which are known to affect snakes. They said: ‘Results derived from our evolutionary analysis suggest for the first time that snake is the most probable wildlife animal reservoir for the 2019-nCoV,’ in the Journal of Medical Virology.
So far the fatalities are quite low. Why are health experts so worried about it?
Experts say the international community is concerned about the virus because so little is known about it and it appears to be spreading quickly.
It is similar to SARS, which infected 8,000 people and killed nearly 800 in an outbreak in Asia in 2003, in that it is a type of coronavirus which infects humans’ lungs.
Another reason for concern is that nobody has any immunity to the virus because they’ve never encountered it before. This means it may be able to cause more damage than viruses we come across often, like the flu or common cold.
Speaking at a briefing in January, Oxford University professor, Dr Peter Horby, said: ‘Novel viruses can spread much faster through the population than viruses which circulate all the time because we have no immunity to them.
CORONAVIRUS COULD SPREAD ON SURFACES, WARNS WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION
Coronavirus could spread on surfaces, the World Health Organization (WHO) said yesterday.
There is evidence that the coronavirus ‘can also be spread via fomites – when the virus survives on inanimate surfaces for a short period of time,’ said Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, a member of the WHO’s emergency committee on the outbreak.
If the possibility becomes a certainty, it’s a worrying revelation for hospital settings, where patients coming to be diagnosed and treated for coronavirus may touch chairs, tables, beds, railings and much more.
WHO officials are careful to note that it’s not yet clear how contagious the new virus is, but its ability to be transferred from surfaces to people could speed its already alarming spread.
Experts estimate that the virus has an incubation between two and 14 days – although a small subset of cases suggest that it may be transmissible even before symptoms begin.
‘Most seasonal flu viruses have a case fatality rate of less than one in 1,000 people. Here we’re talking about a virus where we don’t understand fully the severity spectrum but it’s possible the case fatality rate could be as high as two per cent.’
If the death rate is truly two per cent, that means two out of every 100 patients who get it will die.
‘My feeling is it’s lower,’ Dr Horby added. ‘We’re probably missing this iceberg of milder cases. But that’s the current circumstance we’re in.
‘Two per cent case fatality rate is comparable to the Spanish Flu pandemic in 1918 so it is a significant concern globally.’
How does the virus spread?
The illness can spread between people just through coughs and sneezes, making it an extremely contagious infection. And it may also spread even before someone has symptoms.
It is believed to travel in the saliva and even through water in the eyes, therefore close contact, kissing, and sharing cutlery or utensils are all risky.
Originally, people were thought to be catching it from a live animal market in Wuhan city. But cases soon began to emerge in people who had never been there, which forced medics to realise it was spreading from person to person.
There is now evidence that it can spread third hand – to someone from a person who caught it from another person.
What does the virus do to you? What are the symptoms?
Once someone has caught the virus it may take between two and 14 days for them to show any symptoms – but they may still be contagious during this time.
If and when they do become ill, typical signs include a runny nose, a cough, sore throat and a fever (high temperature). The vast majority of patients – at least 97 per cent, based on available data – will recover from these without any issues or medical help.
GOOGLE SEARCHES FOR CORONA VIRUS BEER SURGE
Searches for both ‘corona beer’ and ‘corona beer virus’ have spiked since the first US cases were confirmed last week.
Over the last week, searches for both terms increased more than 1,100 percent, according to data from Google Trends.
However, it’s likely that the more people have typed ‘corona’, the more Google has auto-completed that search with ‘beer’ or ‘beer virus.’
And to put to rest the question so many have put to Google: No, the deadly virus has nothing to do with a cold brew.
Just five searches for the ‘term ‘corona beer virus’ took place on January 22 compared to at least 100 searches on January 29.
In a small group of patients, who seem mainly to be the elderly or those with long-term illnesses, it can lead to pneumonia. Pneumonia is an infection in which the insides of the lungs swell up and fill with fluid. It makes it increasingly difficult to breathe and, if left untreated, can be fatal and suffocate people.
What have genetic tests revealed about the virus?
Scientists in China have recorded the genetic sequences of around 19 strains of the virus and released them to experts working around the world.
This allows others to study them, develop tests and potentially look into treating the illness they cause.
Examinations have revealed the coronavirus did not change much – changing is known as mutating – much during the early stages of its spread.
However, the director-general of China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Gao Fu, yesterday said the virus was mutating and adapting as it spread through people.
This means efforts to study the virus and to potentially control it may be made extra difficult because the virus might look different every time scientists analyse it.
More study may be able to reveal whether the virus first infected a small number of people then change and spread from them, or whether there were various versions of the virus coming from animals which have developed separately.
How dangerous is the virus?
The virus has so far killed 170 people out of a total of at least 7,100 officially confirmed cases – a death rate of around two per cent. This is a similar death rate to the Spanish Flu outbreak which, in 1918, went on to kill around 50million people.
However, experts say the true number of patients is likely considerably higher and therefore the death rate considerably lower. Imperial College London researchers estimate that there were 4,000 (up to 9,700) cases in Wuhan city alone up to January 18 – officially there were only 444 there to date. If cases are in fact 100 times more common than the official figures, the virus may be far less dangerous than currently believed.
HAS THE KILLER CORONAVIRUS REACHED AFRICA?
The killer coronavirus sweeping the world may have reached Africa as Sudan and Equatorial Guinea have reported suspected cases.
Two citizens of Sudan are being monitored after displaying symptoms of the virus following a visit to Wuhan, local reports say.
And officials in Equatorial Guinea have quarantined four travellers who arrived from Beijing amid fears they may have the killer SARS-like infection.
World Health Organization chiefs today said they are ‘concerned’ about any cases in Africa because the continent does not ‘have the capacity’ to handle the virus.
Leading scientists also fear the virus could be difficult to contain in Africa, warning that medical facilities are ‘extremely limited’.
Experts say it is likely only the most seriously ill patients are seeking help and are therefore recorded – the vast majority will have only mild, cold-like symptoms. For those whose conditions do become more severe, there is a risk of developing pneumonia which can destroy the lungs and kill you.
Can the virus be cured?
The Wuhan coronavirus cannot currently be cured and it is proving difficult to contain.
Antibiotics do not work against viruses, so they are out of the question. Antiviral drugs can, but the process of understanding a virus then developing and producing drugs to treat it would take years and huge amounts of money.
No vaccine exists for the coronavirus yet and it’s not likely one will be developed in time to be of any use in this outbreak, for similar reasons to the above.
The National Institutes of Health in the US, and Baylor University in Waco, Texas, say they are working on a vaccine based on what they know about coronaviruses in general, using information from the SARS outbreak. But this may take a year or more to develop, according to Pharmaceutical Technology.
Currently, governments and health authorities are working to contain the virus and to care for patients who are sick and stop them infecting other people.
People who catch the illness are being quarantined in hospitals, where their symptoms can be treated and they will be away from the uninfected public.
And airports around the world are putting in place screening measures such as having doctors on-site, taking people’s temperatures to check for fevers and using thermal screening to spot those who might be ill (infection causes a raised temperature).
However, it can take weeks for symptoms to appear, so there is only a small likelihood that patients will be spotted up in an airport.
Is this outbreak an epidemic or a pandemic?
The outbreak has not officially been confirmed as either an epidemic or a pandemic yet. This is likely because, despite the global concern, the number of people who have been confirmed to be infected is still relatively low.
A pandemic is defined by the World Health Organization as the ‘worldwide spread of a new disease’.
An epidemic is when a disease takes hold of a smaller community, such as a single country, region or continent.
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